Vigorous gains in beverage sales, combined with “very strong breakfast sales” and limited-time promotions, collectively contributed to a 10.9 percent hike in system-wide sales for Dunkin’ Brands in the first quarter, said Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands.

Speaking to investors during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on April 26, Travis said Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. business reported a 7.2 percent uptick in comparable same-store sales.

While beverages remain the core of the brand’s product offerings, Travis said Dunkin’ Donuts continues to see strong breakfast sandwich sales, too, because patrons who order breakfast beverages typically find sandwiches appealing. “Our breakfast sandwiches [have] a very similar audience,” he said.

Neil Moses, CFO of Dunkin’ Brands, said Baskin-Robbins’ U.S. same-store sales increased 9.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012. That performance compares favorably to an anemic 0.5 percent uptick in the same quarter a year before.

Moses said Dunkin’ Brands’ growth was broadly based, and included increases in traffic and ticket average, as well as dayparts. “[It] is really a function of our strategy, which is a combination of product innovation, operational improvements, and marketing innovation,” he said.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth spanned multiple categories, including beverages, bakery items, and breakfast sandwiches, including expanding the afternoon sandwich business, Moses said.

Limited-time offers also contributed to the uptick in sales at Dunkin’ Donuts. From the introduction of new steak-based items, such as the Angus Steak & Egg Sandwich, to the national promotion of the company’s bakery sandwich line, Travis said Dunkin’ is continuing its strategy of “innovative and differentiating sandwich products that give our guests reasons to visit our restaurants throughout the day.”

Among Baskin-Robbins’ initiatives is the development of a revolutionary new six-inch cake that includes up to eight different flavors in a single cake, Travis said.

“Our international partners also launched a Winter Warmer platform, a new line of hot desserts, such as lava cake and brownies served with ice cream,” he said. The line has already hit markets in the U.K. and the Middle East.

By Jan Fletcher

Breakfast, Growth, News, Sandwiches, Dunkin' Donuts